Also of interest ... in revisionist thinking
Columbine by Dave Cullen; Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo; Animal Spirits by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller; Forever Blue by Michael D’Antonio
Columbine by Dave Cullen (Twelve, $27)Dave Cullen’s careful re-examination of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre is “a reminder of what journalism at its best is all about,” said David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times. Though Cullen covered the story from the day it happened, he spent another nine years gathering facts and testing early misconceptions. The two shooters, he concludes, weren’t bullied outcasts. One was probably a full-blown psychopath, the other a follower. Even after all these years, the story still “hits you like a crime-scene photo.”
Dead Aidby Dambisa Moyo (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24)The slim new book that has launched Dambisa Moyo as a conservative celebrity promotes several “disastrously wrongheaded” ideas about foreign aid, said Michael Gerson in The Washington Post. The Zambian-born, Oxford-educated economist is right that government support to Africa has often propped up dictators and delayed reforms, but it’s “absurd” for anyone to ignore the good that charities have done or the radical rethinking of government aid that took place more than a decade ago.
Animal Spiritsby George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller (Princeton, $25)This timely but sketchy work of behavioral economics “feels like a beta version of a breakthrough computer program,” said Michael Mandel in BusinessWeek. The “incredibly important” thesis of these two “superstar economists” is that human psychology needs to be weighed more seriously when making economic predictions. While this collaborative work includes various “bold and truly innovative” ideas, it also feels “bolted together out of parts that don’t necessarily mesh.”
Forever Blue by Michael D’Antonio (Riverhead, $26)This biography could make “even the most ardent Brooklyn Dodgers fan” question whether the man who moved the team to Los Angeles in 1957 was truly a villain, said Craig Calcaterra in the New York Post. Taking advantage of unprecedented access to Walter O’Malley’s papers, Michael D’Antonio shows that the late Dodger owner bit on a sweetheart deal in L.A. only after being repeatedly thwarted in his attempt to build a new stadium in Brooklyn. O’Malley’s worst mistake was making the wrong enemies.